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Heredity, Family, and InequalityA Critique of Social Sciences$
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Michael Beenstock

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016926

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016926.001.0001

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Empirical Methodology

Empirical Methodology

(p.377) 10 Empirical Methodology
Heredity, Family, and Inequality

Michael Beenstock

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses empirical methodology, focusing on attenuation bias induced by measurement error or data fluctuation and solutions to the biased and inconsistent empirical estimates of the autoregression model. It shows that the identification problem arises in large part due to the non-observability of genotypes. Even if genotypes can be observed, an identification problem in observational data might still arise because genotypes and outcomes, such as wages, schooling, mothering, and infant distress, are jointly determined. One solution is to exploit panel data, which in principle exist for generations of the same family (greatgrandchildren, grandchildren, children, parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents). A number of methodologies may be used to solve the identification problem, including the instrumental-variables estimator. The chapter also presents a methodological critique of behavioral genetics and genome-wide association studies and describes the equal-environments assumption. It argues that behavioral genetics cannot identify the role of heredity in the correlation between siblings.

Keywords:   empirical methodology, genotypes, outcomes, siblings, identification problem, instrumental-variables estimator, behavioral genetics, genome-wide association studies, equal-environments assumption, heredity

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